Is Chapstick Bad For You? Is It Worth Trying?

When it comes to keeping our lips moisturized and healthy, Chapstick is a popular go-to product.

However, with all the different brands and types of lip balm available, it can be difficult to determine which ones are truly beneficial for our lips and which ones may be causing more harm than good.

In this article, we will take a closer look at Chapstick, its ingredients, health benefits, and what medical experts have to say about its use. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of whether Chapstick is a safe and effective option for your lips.

What is Chapstick?

Chapstick is a popular brand of lip balm used to moisturize and protect the lips. It is a type of lip balm that contains various ingredients such as beeswax, petroleum jelly, and natural oils to help prevent and soothe dry, chapped lips. 

Chapstick is available in a variety of flavors and formulas, including those that contain SPF for sun protection.

Ingredients of Chapstick 

Chapstick is a topical lip balm used to prevent and treat chapped or dry lips and the ingredients in Chapstick can be broken down as follows:

  1. Petrolatum: This is a mineral oil jelly that forms a protective barrier on the lips to prevent moisture loss.
  2. Beeswax: This ingredient helps to thicken the balm and improve its texture. It also provides some protection against the elements.
  3. Aloe vera: Aloe vera has moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe and heal chapped lips.
  4. Vitamin E: This is an antioxidant that can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.
  5. Lanolin: This is a natural oil that is extracted from sheep’s wool. It is used in Chapstick to help lock in moisture and prevent dryness.
  6. Camphor: This ingredient has a cooling effect on the lips and can help relieve pain and discomfort associated with chapped lips.
  7. Menthol: Menthol is a natural oil that can also help provide a cooling sensation on the lips.

Overall, the ingredients in Chapstick work together to provide hydration, protection, and relief for dry, chapped lips.

Pros and Cons


  1. Moisturizing: Chapstick is designed to hydrate and protect your lips, helping to prevent dryness, cracking, and chapping.
  2. Convenient: Chapstick is easy to apply and portable, so you can keep it with you wherever you go.
  3. Variety of options: Chapstick is available in a variety of formulations, flavors, and scents, so you can find one that works for you.


  1. Potential for dependency: Some people may become dependent on using Chapstick to keep their lips moisturized, leading to a reliance on the product.
  2. Ingredients: Some Chapstick formulations may contain potentially harmful ingredients like parabens, synthetic fragrances, and petrolatum.
  3. Allergic reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction to certain ingredients in Chapstick, leading to redness, itching, or swelling.

It’s important to note that everyone’s experience with Chapstick may vary, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Additionally, not all Chapstick formulations are created equal, so it’s important to do your research and choose a product that is right for you.

Health Benefits of Chapstick 

Chapstick is a lip balm that is commonly used to moisturize and protect the lips. While it is not marketed as a health product, using a lip balm regularly can have several benefits for the health of your lips.

Some of the potential health benefits of Chapstick include:

  1. Moisturizing and protecting the lips: The primary benefit of Chapstick is that it can help to moisturize and protect the lips from dryness, cracking, and chapping. This can help to prevent pain and discomfort in the lips, as well as potentially reduce the risk of infections and other health issues.
  2. Sun protection: Some Chapstick products are formulated with sun protection, which can help to prevent sunburn and potentially reduce the risk of skin cancer on the lips.
  3. Improved appearance: Using Chapstick can help to improve the appearance of the lips by making them look smoother, healthier, and more moisturized.

While there are limited scientific studies specifically on the health benefits of Chapstick, the ingredients in the product have been shown to have moisturizing and protective effects on the skin. Some of the key ingredients in Chapstick include:

  1. Petrolatum: Petrolatum is a common ingredient in lip balms, and is known for its ability to lock in moisture and prevent dryness.
  1. Beeswax: Beeswax is another moisturizing ingredient commonly found in lip balms. It can help to protect the lips from the elements and promote healing.
  2. Sunscreen: Some Chapstick products contain sunscreen ingredients like octinoxate and oxybenzone, which can help to protect the lips from sun damage.

It is important to note that while Chapstick can have potential health benefits, overuse of the product can lead to dependence on the product and even make the lips more dry and chapped.

It is recommended to use Chapstick in moderation and in combination with other healthy habits like drinking plenty of water and protecting the lips from extreme temperatures and wind.

What Do Medical Experts Say About Chapstick?

As Chapstick is an over-the-counter cosmetic product and not a medication, there is limited information available on what medical experts specifically say about it. However, dermatologists and other skincare experts often recommend using a lip balm or lip moisturizer to protect and hydrate the lips.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist and the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, recommends using a lip balm that contains ingredients like petrolatum, dimethicone, or shea butter to protect and hydrate the lips.

He also notes that excessive licking of the lips can actually make dryness worse.

Another dermatologist, Dr. Hadley King, recommends using lip balms that contain SPF to protect the lips from the sun’s damaging UV rays, which can cause dryness, cracking, and even skin cancer.

Overall, medical experts recommend using a lip balm or moisturizer to protect and hydrate the lips, especially during dry or cold weather. However, it is important to choose a lip balm that contains safe and effective ingredients and to avoid excessive licking of the lips, which can actually worsen dryness.

Scientific Studies on Chapstick 

Chapstick is a widely used lip balm product, and there have been several studies conducted to evaluate its effectiveness and safety. Here are five studies on Chapstick:

  1. In a study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of a Chapstick brand lip balm in moisturizing and preventing chapped lips. They found that the lip balm was effective in increasing hydration and reducing the severity of chapped lips.
  2. In a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of a lip balm containing natural oils, including coconut oil and shea butter, in improving lip hydration and barrier function. They found that the lip balm was effective in increasing hydration and reducing water loss from the lips, and was comparable in effectiveness to petroleum-based products like Chapstick.

It is important to note that these studies evaluated specific brands and formulations of lip balm products, and their findings may not necessarily apply to all Chapstick products. 

It is always recommended to read the ingredient label and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about using Chapstick or other lip balm products.

What do Health experts say about Chapstick?

There is a lack of clear consensus among health experts regarding the use of Chapstick. Some experts argue that regular use of lip balm or Chapstick can help protect lips from the damaging effects of environmental factors such as wind, cold weather, and dry air. 

However, others warn against overuse of Chapstick, as it can create a dependency on the product and may actually make lips more dry and chapped in the long run.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, explains, “When you apply lip balm to your lips, you may feel immediate relief because of the coating of the skin, but in the long term, it can make your lips drier because of the saliva evaporation.”

In general, experts recommend using Chapstick or lip balm in moderation and in combination with other measures to keep lips healthy, such as staying hydrated, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and using a humidifier in dry environments.

It’s worth noting that many health experts also recommend choosing natural or organic lip balms, as these may be less likely to contain potentially harmful ingredients.

Who Should Avoid Chapstick?

Chapstick is generally considered safe for most individuals, but there are certain populations who may need to exercise caution or avoid it altogether. Some health experts recommend avoiding Chapstick or other lip balms that contain certain ingredients, particularly in people with allergies or sensitivities.

For example, people with allergies to ingredients like lanolin or beeswax should avoid Chapstick products that contain these ingredients. Some people may also be sensitive to fragrances or essential oils used in certain Chapstick products.

Moreover, it’s important to note that overuse of Chapstick or any other lip balm can lead to a condition known as lip balm addiction or lip balm dependence. This condition is characterized by a persistent need to use lip balm and can lead to dryness, irritation, and other lip problems.

According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, “Using lip balm regularly is important for keeping the lips hydrated and healthy, but overusing lip balm can lead to a vicious cycle of dependence.”

It’s also important to note that some experts warn against using lip balms that contain petrolatum or mineral oil, as these ingredients may have potential health risks.

For example, a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that mineral oil may be contaminated with toxic substances that can be harmful to human health.

Overall, it’s important to read the labels and understand the ingredients in lip balms like Chapstick, and to exercise caution if you have any allergies, sensitivities, or concerns about potential health risks.

Alternatives to Chapstick 

Here are three alternatives to Chapstick:

  1. Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm: This lip balm is made with natural ingredients, including beeswax and coconut oil. It is formulated to moisturize and protect the lips.
  2. Aquaphor Lip Repair: This lip balm is designed to provide long-lasting hydration and help soothe dry and cracked lips. It contains ingredients such as petrolatum, shea butter, and chamomile extract.
  3. Vaseline Lip Therapy: This lip balm is made with petroleum jelly and is designed to provide a protective barrier on the lips to lock in moisture. It comes in various scents and flavors, and also offers a non-scented version for those who prefer a simple formula.


Is Chapstick addictive? 

No, Chapstick itself is not addictive. However, some people may develop a habit of frequently applying it to their lips, leading to a psychological dependence on the product.

Can Chapstick cause allergic reactions?

Yes, some people may be allergic to the ingredients in Chapstick, such as lanolin or fragrances. Allergic reactions may include itching, swelling, and redness. It is recommended to discontinue use if an allergic reaction occurs and to seek medical attention if the reaction is severe.

How often should I use Chapstick?

There is no specific guideline for how often to use Chapstick, as it depends on individual needs and preferences. However, it is generally recommended to apply as needed to keep lips hydrated and prevent dryness.

Is Chapstick safe to use during pregnancy?

Chapstick is generally considered safe to use during pregnancy, as long as it does not contain any harmful ingredients. However, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before using any new products during pregnancy.

Can I use Chapstick on other parts of my body?

Chapstick is specifically formulated for use on the lips, so it is not recommended to use it on other parts of the body. There are other moisturizing products available for use on other areas of the body, such as lotions or creams.

Conclusion: Is Chapstick bad for you?

The question of whether Chapstick is bad for you has many angles. While some ingredients in Chapstick can cause allergic reactions in some people, overall, the evidence suggests that Chapstick is a safe and effective way to keep your lips moisturized. 

The key is to choose a product with natural ingredients and use it in moderation. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide if they want to use Chapstick or explore alternative options. It is always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about using Chapstick or any other product on your skin.


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  • Marixie Manarang, MT, undergrad MD

    Marixie Manarang is licensed Medical Laboratory Scientist and an undergraduate of Doctor of Medicine (MD). For one year, she completed her internship training in a government hospital, primarily catering to retired veterans and their dependents. Through her preceptorships in medical school, she gained exposure to patients from various medical departments. Marixie’s passion for writing stems from her excellent medical background, being a mother, and a strong desire to assist the elderly and others in need. Education: Our Lady of Fatima University Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Medicine (2012-2015), Angeles University Foundation Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Medicine (2009-2011), Angeles University Foundation Bachelors, Medical Technology (2004-2009)






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